Progressives to buck party by voting against $3T coronavirus relief bill

At least two progressive House Democrats have announced plans to vote against the $3 trillion coronavirus relief package their party will bring forward for a vote Friday. 

Rep. Pramila JayapalPramila JayapalDemocrats urge Biden to commute sentences of 4K people on home confinement Manchin keeps Washington guessing on what he wants The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by National Industries for the Blind - Schumer: Dem unity will happen eventually; Newsom prevails MORE (D-Wash.) said in a statement Friday that she will be voting "no" on the bill because, among other things, the legislation does not guarantee “affordable and accessible health care for everyone,” guarantee enough forgivable loans to minority-owned small businesses and doesn’t safeguard pensions. 

“At the core, our response from Congress must match the true scale of this devastating crisis. The Heroes Act —while it contains many important provisions — simply fails to do that,” said Jayapal, who co-chairs the Congressional Progressive Caucus.


Jayapal is also part of the “Unity Task Force” focused on pushing progressive ideas in former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenSunday shows preview: Coronavirus dominates as country struggles with delta variant Did President Biden institute a vaccine mandate for only half the nation's teachers? Democrats lean into vaccine mandates ahead of midterms MORE’s presidential campaign.

Jayapal and other progressive lawmakers have also indicated that the bill as written is too friendly to corporate interests. 

For example, the bill includes premium subsidies so that workers can maintain their health insurance coverage if they are eligible for COBRA, a program that allows employees who have been laid off to stay on their old employer's health plan.

Jayapal said that the provision would be a giveaway to the health insurance industry, while leaving people who can't afford to stay on their plan left to "risk it."

Jayapal and Rep. Mark Pocan (D-Wis.) sent a letter to Democratic leaders on Tuesday asking that the vote on the package be delayed until next week and called for a caucus meeting “to discuss the bill and any amendments that might be needed to ensure that it truly reflects the priorities and the work of the entire caucus.” 


House Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiRepublicans caught in California's recall trap Raise the debt limit while starting to fix the budget   'Justice for J6' organizer calls on demonstrators to respect law enforcement MORE (D-Calif.) responded by sending a "Dear Colleague" letter Tuesday evening, saying, “We urge you to support the legislation and to be present on Friday.”

Fourteen House Democrats — nine of whom are members of the Progressive Caucus — voted against the procedural rule allowing the HEROES Act to come to the floor for a vote, underscoring concerns within the party about the legislation. 

Voting against the procedural rule does not guarantee they will vote "no" on the bill. Even if all 14 members vote against the bill, it will still pass the House and go to the Senate, where lawmakers have declared it "dead on arrival."

Democratic Reps. Ro KhannaRohit (Ro) KhannaEquilibrium/Sustainability — Presented by The American Petroleum Institute — Dems demand accounting from Big Oil Overnight Energy & Environment — Presented by Climate Power — Emissions heading toward pre-pandemic levels Democrats call for oil company executives to testify on disinformation campaign MORE (Calif.) and Ilhan OmarIlhan OmarOcasio-Cortez, Bush push to add expanded unemployment in .5T spending plan Enough with the GDP — it's time to measure genuine progress Overnight Energy & Environment — Presented by the American Petroleum Institute — Democrats eye potential carbon price in reconciliation bill MORE (Minn.) also indicated on Twitter that they would vote “no” on the procedural rule that would bring the legislation to the floor for a vote, citing similar concerns as Jayapal.  

"We have a healthcare crisis yet no expansion of Medicaid or Medicare," tweeted Khanna, the first House Democrat to announce his opposition. "FDR didn't talk about employer retirement accounts. LBJ didn't talk about voting rights in some precincts."


Omar said the party needs to meet the task at hand with “bold ideas that meet the scale of the crisis.”

A spokesperson for Omar told The Hill that she is voting "yes" on the $3 trillion package.

A spokesperson for New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezOn The Money — Presented by Wells Fargo — Pelosi plows full speed ahead on jam-packed agenda Photos of the Week: Renewable energy, gymnast testimonies and a Met Gala dress Ocasio-Cortez, Bush push to add expanded unemployment in .5T spending plan MORE, who was the only Democrat to vote "no" on the interim stimulus bill in April, told HuffPost that she will be a "no" vote on the HEROES Act as well. 

Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersSunday shows preview: Coronavirus dominates as country struggles with delta variant Democrats urge Biden to commute sentences of 4K people on home confinement Briahna Joy Gray: Push toward major social spending amid pandemic was 'short-lived' MORE (I-Vt.), a prominent progressive lawmaker and former Democratic presidential candidate that every aforementioned congressperson backed, said Thursday that House Democrats need to "improve" the bill before sending it to the Senate. 

Updated 4:44 p.m.